Mister Rogers, thank you for being my neighbor

As each year passes and I grow older, I feel myself losing a grasp on my childhood. I turn 22 today-just a few months away from graduation and nervous about what is in store for me in the near future. But I am comforted, as I was as a little kid, that everything will be OK. Thank you Mister Rogers for helping me realize that.
The man who donned the cardigan sweaters and flipped his shoe while singing “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine, could you be mine, please won’t you be my neighbor?” passed away Thursday from stomach cancer. And with his passing, more of my childhood was lost.
I’d be lying if I said I still watched or even thought about Mister Rogers. But his death has brought back many fond memories of the man who taught countless numbers of children the values of life-values that I still hold dear.
Before there was Barney, there was Fred, who, in his simplicity and his love for children, helped generations come to grips with life’s challenges. He taught us all to push forward and attain all the possibilities that lie within us. He taught us to use our imagination. He taught us what was right and wrong. But most of all he taught us to be ourselves.
What Mister Rogers may have lacked in hipness, he more than made up with in charm and warmth. His 30-plus years on television inspired millions, and will continue to do so for years to come. And while he may no longer be with us, I take comfort in the fact that while my kids may never get to experience Mister Rogers’ guidance, the lessons he taught me will be passed down to them. He made us all stronger and wiser.
Mister Rogers leaves behind a legacy that may never be matched. He was as much a part of weekday mornings as Big Bird and breakfast.
Now as I push forward into the next stage of my life, I remember what he always used to say at the end of his shows: “There’s only one person in the whole world like you.”
But Mister Rogers, there’s only one person in the whole world like you, and I will miss knowing that you will no longer be my neighbor.

Jordan Rodack is a senior majoring in print journalism and political science. He can be reached at j.rodack@umiami.edu.